Inspirational Porches and Decks

A mountain house is really all about the great room and all about the porch or deck, don't you think?  Make those two places into rooms people want to gather in and you can consider the entire effort a success.

My favorite porches and decks are those where people go all out, treating them as if they were an interior room in the house.  A porch with a chandelier, a beautiful area rug, side tables and a fire place is my idea of spectacular.

Below is a collection of photos of some inspirational porches and decks.  Each and every one of these is a place I'd like to be.  That's pretty much what's important about a porch, isn't it.  That you just simply want to spend time there.  All of these fit the bill perfectly...

Above, colorful and pretty with summer flowers.  So many places to sit and lot's of camp blankets and pillows to make oneself comfortable.  

In a word, chic!  Love it!

Rustic and sophisticated all at once.  Lamps, coffee tables, carpets, this place has got all the comforts of home!  

Stunning.  The lodge pole beams, the bark walls, antique lanterns, hand-made camp furnishings, antler candle sticks, willow chandelier, all contribute to make this high-ceilinged hang-out a place that captures the mood of the mountains perfectly.  

Just goes to prove that it doesn't take a big budget to create charm.  A little paint and a few comfortable rockers is all you really need.  And hey, aren't we here for the view anyway?

Hanging swing sofas???!!  Count me in!

A warm and cozy place to sit.

Ralph Lauren's outdoor deck.

Kathleen River's porch.  Again, why not kit the porch out like the rest of the house.  Everything you need to relax and enjoy the mountains is right here on the porch, including lamps, throws, rockers, ottomans.  Just perfect!

Above, Charlotte Moss on her Aspen deck. 

Mary Lynn Turner of M. Elle Design's porch.  Simple, gorgeous, luxurious.  Doesn't the chandelier just make the entire thing that much more fabulous?

An outdoor fireplace is sooooooooo deluxe!

Simple, beautiful materials.  Gorgeous stone floor and log walls.  

Okay.  I want this!  

And, of course, every porch needs one of these.

By the way, if you want to see more porch and deck photos, my pinboard is at: .

Contemporary Rustic--That's What I Call Today's Mountain Style

Contemporary Rustic is the term I've been using to describe today's most popular mountain building style. Today's modern mountain houses feature spaces that are large and have big ceiling volume. In fact, almost all new mountain construction features a Great Room configuration. The emphasis is on the views and windows are stacked to the rafters. 

Contemporary mountain building materials are rustic and include a great deal of wood, stone and metals. Sometimes the materials are urban/industrial with lot's of concrete, corrugated and steel. 

Sometimes they are old, antiqued and patina-ed.  We see a lot of reclaimed wood on walls, floors and beams.  In fact reclaimed is used for just about anything these day including kitchen cabinets. Another older material I love to see is rusted steel panels.  Sometimes both urban and antiqued materials are used in the same project.   

As for style influences, there are lots of references to the Arts and Crafts movement and of course these are often mixed with traditional cabin style elements and log construction details.  Hand crafting is important. 

How do you decorate a Contemporary Rustic style house?

Of course, I like to fill these rooms with luxurious comfortable large-scale sofas, lounges and sectionals, but it's a little tricky finding just the right tables and case goods to use in these large rustic interiors. I'm a big fan of some of the Artifacts International line of furnishings for contemporary Mountain Houses. Their pieces have the weight and size to anchor big volume rooms. And importantly, they feature natural woods and materials which are hand-crafted, highly distressed, and rustic in design.

Artifacts makes a Mill Valley line that I especially appreciate. Here are some of the pieces in this line.

Mill Valley Chest   50"wide x 33 high    You usually think of a chest as a piece of furniture best used in the bedroom. In this case, however, bring the piece out into the main rooms and show it off! I love this in the entry way, or for under the big screen TV as well as a substitute for a sofa console table. In all cases the drawers provide extra storage for games, DVD's, winter throws and other Great Room paraphernalia.

Mill Valley Cocktail Table Huge. Stunning. Not too delicate to put your feet on! 

Canyon Mirror   Huge at 66" high x 48" wide. Some rooms just need this kind of scale.

Mill Valley Armoire   Here's the answer to the question of what to put on that really tall wall.

Mill Valley Console A great piece to fill up an empty wall space. Just put a pair of large lamps on either end and a fabulous piece of artwork on the wall behind it. 

All Artifacts furnishings can be ordered through Dragonfly Designs.  Email for details.  

My Fall 2014 Pendleton catalogue just arrived in the mail.  

If you love camp style, you can't beat Pendleton for kitschy, charming, colorful and  whimsical.

Vintage trailers--glamping with Pendleton!

Movie night.  Fire up the pop corn!
Gorgeous tent camping.

I've always loved using Pendleton's colorful camp blankets in my clients bunk rooms.  And lately I've been mixing and matching them.  They look absolutely adorable this way and bring a casual, comfortable look to bunk rooms which, let's face it, can be rather impersonal.  When your blanket is the red one, it creates a special space that's yours.  

Mixing and matching camp blankets in the bunk room.
These blankets bring comfortable luxury to rustic.

Pendleton has some new theme blankets that are great in camps, cabins and lodges.  I particularly like the Route 66 blanket and the Super Chief blanket, both are shown below.  These look great styled up with other Pendleton patterns, particularly their plaids and Native American trading blanket themed styles.  

I like the way Pendleton has styled this room to bring that camp style look into a modern mountain house.  

Super Chief is a brand new blanket introduction from Pendleton.  The blanket pattern is based on upholstery the Super Chief rail cars used during the 1930's through the 1960's along route from Chicago to LA.  Don't you just love this for a boy's room?  

Of course, Pendleton is still doing exactly what they've always done best, Native American trading blankets.  However, someone at Pendleton has a more modern vision for how to incorporate these into current mountain homes.  See if you agree with me that the way these rooms are styled is both sophisticated and unexpected from Pendleton.

Bold and exciting.
Sophisticated Colors.  Beautiful in a light and airy room.

Stunning and graphic.
Lovely muted colors in a beautifully designed room.  

You may not be aware that Pendleton has a gorgeous towel line now.  They have lots of patterns and colors to choose from, including some great plaids.  My favorites, though, are the Native American patterns.

I love this mix and match collection.  They would be perfect in a typical modern lodge style house with lots of wood and stone.  I've found that in houses with lot's of deep rich materials, bright colors are needed to keep the interiors from becoming too cave-like.  You almost can't add too much color to these houses.  They absorb it like a black hole.

These more muted towels are elegant and sophisticated enough for the city, but, of course, they are most at home in the mountains.

 Pendleton makes some great ancillary products out of their blanket fabrics.  Don't you just love these, below?

Charming totes.  Perfect for packing that car for the drive up to Tahoe.

I also enjoy Pendleton's dinnerware patterns.  Grand Lodge is similar to a pattern that has been used at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite for many years.

Kind of a "must-have" for mountain living, don't you think?

Ralph Lauren's Alpine Lodge Collection...Gorgeous!!
Ralph Lauren, a lover himself of ranch living, has always carried lot's of appropriate fabrics and furnishings for cabins and lodges.  New for him, however, is his Alpine collection which mixes European chalet style with Native American influences.  

French furniture and thunderbirds?  It seems like it would be an odd combination but it works beautifully.  After all, it's always been part of Ralph Lauren's look to mix tartans with paisleys, home spun with leather and denim with florals.  Somehow he takes disparate traditional motifs and patterns and just makes them all work together.  

It's a cool look and several of my clients have used fabrics from the new collection.  

Pillow Fabric is Algonquin Horn

We are carrying some of Ralph Lauren's Alpine Lodge Collection fabrics in our online store:

Manitou Falcon
Verbier Plaid
Telluride Earth

Algonquin Horn

We've mostly been using these gorgeous fabrics for toss pillows, Euro shams, cornice boards and headboards.  I'm a big believer in stretching out budgets by mixing pricey fabulous touches like these Ralph Lauren fabrics with more practical affordable fabrics.

You can click on the fabrics above to view them in our online store, or for our selection of Ralph Lauren favorites,  go here.

For a look at Ralph Lauren's gorgeous Colorado home, click here.